Well, one thing we know for certain: Vanderbilt, for the first time since 2017, will not being playing in the SEC Tournament’s Wednesday night opening round.
They might not have to play on Thursday, either. And the worst-case scenario? Vanderbilt is the 6-seed.
Actually, a Vanderbilt loss on Saturday will guarantee them the 6-seed. Vanderbilt is currently tied with Missouri in the standings, but lost to the Tigers; they’re a game ahead of Auburn, and won the only meeting between the two. A three-way tie amongst Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Auburn would be settled by records against the top seed (Alabama) working their way down; Missouri went 1-0 against both of Kentucky and Tennessee, while Vanderbilt split with both, and Auburn would be 1-1 against Tennessee in that scenario; that tie would be broken by Auburn’s 0-1 record against Kentucky.
And if Vanderbilt wins? Well, that’s where things get fun! Kentucky and Tennessee are both a game ahead of the Tigers and Commodores in the standings; a combination of a Vanderbilt win and losses by the other three would make Vanderbilt the 4-seed. A three-way tie amongst Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Missouri would end with Missouri as the 4-seed, Kentucky the 5, and Vanderbilt the 6; a three-way tie amongst Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Missouri would have Missouri as the 4, Tennessee as the 5, and Vanderbilt as the 6. A four-way tie would have Missouri as the 3, Kentucky the 4, Vanderbilt the 5, and Tennessee the 6.
That pretty much ends the scenarios for Vanderbilt. For everyone else:
- Four teams’ seeds are set in stone: Alabama is the 1-seed, Texas A&M is the 2-seed, Georgia is the 11-seed, and LSU is the 14-seed. South Carolina and Ole Miss will be the 12 and 13 in some order; they’re currently tied in the standings and split with each other, and South Carolina would win the tiebreaker thanks to a win over Kentucky. It doesn’t matter. They’ll play each other on Wednesday night and the seeding only decides who wears white.
- As far as Kentucky and Tennessee, see the above narrative on Vanderbilt for what happens if one or both lose. Kentucky can get the 3-seed simply by winning Saturday; Tennessee needs a win and a Kentucky loss. A three-way tie for third amongst Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri would go Missouri 3, Kentucky 4, Tennessee 5.
- Auburn will be the 7-seed with exactly one exception: if they beat Tennessee, Missouri loses to Ole Miss at home, and Vanderbilt beats Mississippi State. That would make Auburn the 6-seed and Missouri the 7-seed. Auburn is currently a game ahead of Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Florida, but owns a head-to-head win over all three.
- And that leaves the three teams currently tied at 8-9, fighting for the 8 through 10 seeds. Arkansas beat Florida and lost to Mississippi State; Florida beat Mississippi State and lost to Arkansas; Mississippi State beat Arkansas and lost to Florida. Again, all three lost to Auburn. If one or two of the three win on Saturday (Arkansas hosts Kentucky, Florida hosts LSU, and Mississippi State is at Vanderbilt), then this will get solved on head-to-head; but if all three win or all three lose, well, this gets solved on records vs. Texas A&M: Mississippi State went 1-0 (8-seed), Arkansas went 1-1 (9-seed), and Florida went 0-1 (10-seed.) Yeah, it’s stupid. Deal with it.